Raphael Ugwu Writer, software engineer, and a lifelong student.

How to correctly force a Vue component to re-render

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Vue Rerender Component Best Practice

Editor’s note: This article was last updated 12 May 2023 to include additional information about common use cases when forcing an update in Vue may be appropriate, like using external events or a legacy codebase.

Vue is a versatile and incrementally adoptable JavaScript UI framework. With its distinctive architecture and reactivity system, Vue updates the DOM whenever the JavaScript state changes. However, in certain scenarios, this approach isn’t sufficient, and we need to re-render individual components.

In this article, we’ll review the practical use cases for forcing updates, as well as some best practices to follow to re-render Vue components efficiently and avoid reloading the entire page. The following four basic practices apply to both Vue 2 and Vue 3. Let’s get started!

Jump ahead:

When should you force an update in Vue?

Sometimes, forcing an update in Vue is necessary to ensure that the UI reflects the most recent data or state changes. Let’s review some common scenarios or use cases when forcing an update in Vue is likely appropriate.

External events

When you have components that rely on external events or changes that occur outside of Vue’s reactivity system, you may need to manually trigger an update. For example, if you have a component that listens for browser events like window resize, you may need to force an update to re-render the component based on the new dimensions.

Custom watchers

Vue provides watchers that you can use to monitor changes in data properties. If you have a custom watcher that performs some additional logic or has side effects, you may need to manually trigger an update when the watcher’s condition is met.

Third-party integration

When integrating with third-party libraries or plugins that directly manipulate the DOM, Vue’s reactivity system may fail to detect changes. In such cases, forcing an update can help ensure that the component reflects the correct state.

Dynamic styling

Vue’s reactivity system excels at handling dynamic data and updating the UI as needed. However, if you use dynamic styles on elements that rely on calculations, measurements, or other external factors, you may need to force an update to ensure that the styles are applied correctly.

Changes to non-reactive data

Vue’s reactivity system primarily monitors changes to reactive data properties. Vue will not detect changes to non-reactive data that affect the component’s rendering or behavior, like plain JavaScript objects or variables. In such cases, you may have to perform a manual update using forceUpdate to reflect the changes, which we’ll cover later.

Performance optimization

Vue optimizes performance by updating only the necessary parts of the DOM through intelligent diffing and re-rendering. However, in certain complex scenarios, the automatic diffing algorithm may fail to detect changes accurately, resulting in incorrect rendering. Forcing an update in such cases can help ensure that the component is rendered correctly.

Legacy codebase

When integrating Vue with external libraries or legacy code that doesn’t play well with Vue’s reactivity system, you may encounter situations where changes made outside of Vue aren’t reflected in the UI. Forcing an update is a viable solution for synchronizing the component’s state with external changes.

Direct DOM manipulation

If you manipulate the DOM directly outside of Vue’s reactivity system, like with vanilla JavaScript or third-party libraries, Vue may be unaware of the changes. In such cases, forcing an update can assist Vue in recognizing and reflecting the UI changes.

Now that we understand the scenarios where forcing an update may be appropriate, let’s discuss four options for forcing a Vue component to re-render, comparing their pros and cons.

Hot reload

Hot reload involves more than just reloading a page whenever we update a file. When we modify a component in a *.vue file with hot reload enabled, Vue will swap all instances of that component without refreshing the page. Therefore, it preserves the present state of our app as well as the swapped components, thereby improving the developer experience whenever you significantly modify the templates or styling of components.

Using hot reload

Whenever you scaffold a project with the Vue CLI, hot reload will be enabled out-of-the-box. Also, when you set up a new project manually, hot reload is enabled automatically when you serve your project with webpack-dev-server --hot.

For advanced use cases, I recommend checking out vue-hot-reload-api, which is used internally by Vue Loader.

Disabling hot reload

Hot reload is always enabled automatically, except under the following circumstances:

  • webpack target is node (SSR)
  • webpack minifies the codeprocess.env.NODE_ENV === ‘production’

To specifically disable hot reload, use the hotReload: false option:

module: {
  rules: [
      test: /\.vue$/,
      loader: 'vue-loader',
      options: {
        hotReload: false // disables Hot Reload

State preservation rules

When re-rendering components, the hot reloading process follows a set of state preservation rules.

If you edit the <template> of a component, instances of the edited component will re-render in place, maintaining all existing private states. This is made possible by combining templates to create new render functions with no side effects.

When a component’s <script> section is changed, instances of the modified component will be destroyed and re-created in place. This is due to the possibility of side effects from lifecycle hooks in <script>, necessitating a reload rather than a re-render to maintain consistency.

Therefore, one should exercise caution when using timers or other global side effects inside component lifecycle hooks. Sometimes, if a component has global side effects, we must reload the entire page.

Keep in mind that the application state is unaffected by <style> hot reload because it runs independently via vue-style-loader.

The Vue v-if hack

The v-if directive, which is included with the Vue library, only renders a component when a given condition is true. If it’s false, the component won’t appear in the DOM. Therefore, the creative use of the v-if directive might be a better solution.

In this template, let’s set up a v-if directive:

  <MyComponent v-if="renderComponent" />

In the script section, we’ll add a method called forceRender, which uses nextTick, a utility for waiting for the next DOM update flush:

import { nextTick, ref } from 'vue';
const renderComponent = ref(true);

const forceRender = async () => {
  // Here, we'll remove MyComponent
  renderComponent.value = false;

   // Then, wait for the change to get flushed to the DOM
  await nextTick();

  // Add MyComponent back in
  renderComponent.value = true;

In a scenario where we use the Options API instead of the Composition API, our script will look more like the following code:

export default {
  data() {
    return {
      renderComponent: true,
  methods: {
    async forceRender() {
   // Remove MyComponent from the DOM
   this.renderComponent = false;

   // Then, wait for the change to get flushed to the DOM
      await this.$nextTick();

      // Add MyComponent back in
      this.renderComponent = true;

In the code snippet above, renderComponent is initially set to true, rendering MyComponent. Whenever we call forceRender, renderComponent is set to false. Doing so stops rendering MyComponent because the v-if directive now evaluates to false.

Immediately after MyComponent stops rendering, we wait for a tick and then set renderComponent back to true. This also sets the v-if directive to true, which renders a refreshed instance of MyComponent.

Two elements are crucial to deciphering how nextTick() operates. First, we must wait until the next tick, unless our updates to renderComponent will cancel themselves out, and we won’t notice any changes.

In Vue, you can use nextTick() immediately after a state change to wait for the DOM updates to complete. We can either pass a callback as an argument or await the returned promise.

Vue will destroy the previous component because it creates an entirely new component when we render it for the second time. As a result, our new MyComponent will go through all of its typical lifecycles, created, mounted, and so on.

Vue’s built-in forceUpdate method

As recommended by the official Vue documentation, the built-in forceUpdatemethod is one of the best ways to manually update a component.

Typically, Vue will update the view in response to changes in dependencies. Even though none of the dependencies have changed, we can still force that update to happen by calling the forceUpdate method, which forces the component instance to re-render.

However, this defeats the purpose of the entire reactivity system; therefore, it is not suggested as a fix in these situations. We mistakenly believe that Vue will respond to changes to a particular property or variable, but that isn’t always how the reactivity system works.

The code below demonstrates how to call the forceUpdate method using the Vue Options API:

export default {
  methods: {
    ForcesUpdateComponent() {
      // our code
      this.$forceUpdate();  // Notice we have to use a $ here
      // our code

This method only exists on the component instance, so we need to get a bit creative to call it using Vue 3’s Composition API:

import { getCurrentInstance } from 'vue';

const methodThatForcesUpdate = () => {
  // our code
  const instance = getCurrentInstance();
  // our code

The only case where we may want to use the forceUpdate method is when we have explicitly created a non-reactive component state using advanced reactivity APIs. However, given Vue’s fully automatic reactivity system, this is optional.

The key-changing technique

Using the key-changing technique, we provide a key attribute to inform Vue that a particular component is connected to a particular piece of data. If the keyremains the same, the component won’t change. But, if the key changes, Vue understands that it needs to delete the previous component and generate a new one.

Why does Vue require a key?

Let’s delve further into what a key attribute does specifically and why we need it. Let’s assume we’re rendering a list of components that includes one or more of the following:

  • A local state
  • An initialization process, either with Vue 3’s setup function or in the created and mounted hooks when using the Options API
  • Non-reactive DOM manipulation achieved through jQuery or Vanilla APIs

When sorting or updating that list, we don’t want to re-render everything on the list; we only want to re-render the parts of the list that we updated. To achieve this, we’ll provide a key property to help Vue keep track of what has changed and what hasn’t. Since the index of an array is unrelated to specific items on our list, using it in this situation wouldn’t do anything.

The key-changing technique is considered the best way to force Vue to re-render a component. Below is a fundamental way to illustrate it:

  <MyComponent :key="componentKey" />

import { ref } from 'vue';
const componentKey = ref(0);

const forceRender = () => {
  componentKey.value += 1;

In the code snippet above, we’ll add a key attribute to MyComponent, and then change that key whenever we need MyComponent to be re-rendered.

Using the Options API instead of Vue 3 or the Composition API, it’ll look like the following:

export default {
  data() {
    return {
      componentKey: 0,
  methods: {
    forceRender() {
      this.componentKey += 1;

Whenever forceRender is called, the value of componentKey will change. When this occurs, Vue will be aware that it must destroy the component and initialize a new one. We’ll also end up with a child component that will reset its state and re-initialize itself.


Ideally, we should be able to utilize Vue’s robust reactivity system, but there are instances where we must force a component to re-render to complete the task at hand.

In this article, we covered four different ways to force a Vue component to re-render, including hot reload, the v-if hack, the forceUpdate method, and finally, the key-changing technique. The right one will ultimately depend on the unique situation you find yourself in, however, the key-changing technique is usually a safe bet.

If you have to manually force an update, you should do so sparingly and carefully because Vue’s reactivity system is designed to automatically handle most scenarios. I’d recommend that you take advantage of Vue’s reactive nature and rely on its built-in mechanisms rather than relying on manual updates whenever possible.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions. Happy coding!

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Raphael Ugwu Writer, software engineer, and a lifelong student.

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